Just recently, I was invited to a social event, where I did not know anyone. I mean, even the person that invited me did not show up. Now if this were me 2 years ago, I would be one nervous, self-conscious wreck. I would try. My biggest mistake, and maybe yours, I would try.
I would try to show people that I was cool, normal, hip, whatever. I sought their approval. I wanted them to see me in a certain way, and so I would sacrifice my peace of mind for that approval. However, this time was different.
I was often left in silences. I was often left alone. I was often introduced to people I did not know, asked the same questions, “What’s your major?”, “Are you. . .?”, “Do you know [insert someone I do not know]?”. The foreign environment showed up once again. the circumstances were the same. A stranger in a strange land, but. . . I was different.
I did not care if they liked me or not. I know who I am, and I like who I am, and that is all that matters. And if I do find something about myself that I do not like, I will not change because of you, I will change because of me.
And whenever a lull would appear in the middle of a very forced conversation, I would allow the silence to sink. I didn’t care if there was an “awkward” silence. If I am not curious about you, I will not force it. No disrespect to the individuals I was talking to, but I will not go out of my, waste my energy, to try to make conversation to make you comfortable, when there are literally no stakes besides you approving me. I do not need it. And this will be the same for everyone. If the value proposition is not there, you will not get what you think you deserve.
I was at peace. My mind could breathe, and I could be myself. I was having fun noticing how far I have come in these past two years. The hundreds of hours I spent sweating in front and behind a grill paid off. Living life how I want to for the past two years have given me a sense of content. Not a bad payoff.
Be who you want to be, not because of the approval you will gain, but because you want to. Be the person you know you can be (sorry for all the cliches).